As we opened the building at 06:45am on that Saturday morning, Bishop Rafii Haji turned to me and asked “Do you think people will come?” My heart skipped a beat but then a wonderful peaceful feeling came over me and I knew everything would be ok.
It was August 3rd, a beautiful holiday weekend in Dublin, and we were opening up the chapel for our ward’s Index-a-thon event. We had invited people in the Clondalkin Ward and throughout the stake to join us and we planned on working from 07:00 am to 07:00 pm, with the goal of indexing 10,000 records in 12 hours. We had publicized the event for two months, sent posters to all of the wards and branches and uploaded the poster to all of the Facebook pages associated with the Stake, inviting people to join us either personally or online on the day. We also sent invitations to all of the Genealogical Societies in Ireland inviting them to support us in achieving our goal. The wonderful women in Relief Society offered to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as some wonderful treats in case we got hungry.
On the premise that if we had 100 people index for 1 hour each and process 100 records in that time we would easily achieve 10,000 records, we chose the UK Kent Register of Electors 1825 to 1900, which is easy to read and yet challenging when indexing. As we started indexing more people started arriving and some non-members joined us to help and stayed and stayed, and still people kept arriving. Some of the youth enjoyed it so much that they asked to stay on, and made a game out of trying to find the most unusual first name- with ‘Cassebilinous’ being a sure winner. By 2:30 pm everyone was excited to hear that we had already passed our goal and had in fact achieved 10,565 records indexed.
People came and went, ate and chatted, laughed and fellowshipped but most importantly they indexed, the numbers kept growing. The atmosphere was amazing and it was wonderful to look around the room throughout the day and see people of all ages laughing and talking as they helped one another with the task in hand. With a seemingly never ending supply of wonderful food and treats, people just stayed on indexing,
We indexed many records from Kent but being blessed with such a large multi-national membership throughout our stake we also indexed records from the Philippines, Sweden and the Ukraine and WWI service records.
I never doubted that we would achieve our goal but was amazed at the end of the day to see that we had in fact more than doubled our goal indexing 21,188 records in total. The members in our ward and stake are continuing to index and have requested that we make the Index-a-thon an annual event.
“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead”- Joseph Smith Jr.